Please note: This house does not offer free entry to Historic House members.
For alternative options please see other opening options.

Other opening

Overview

Described by Historic England as the ‘most important site for the history of explosives in Europe’.

The remarkable and beautiful landscape chronicles the development of explosives, propellants and finally rocket motors and fuels from the Civil War to the Cold War, including rare surviving WW1 factory buildings, and intriguing structures and earthworks.

The Royal Gunpowder Mills is a Scheduled Monument with over 20 listed buildings.  It is also designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest for it wildlife.  Its alder woodland is undergoing conservation, and the site features a unique three level industrial canal system (now mostly dry).

Only the southern part of the site is accessible to the general public, where school activities and events take place and there are exhibitions about the history of the site and its manufacture, an armoury, an exhibition of rocketry, and a café. A number of the site’s many volunteers are people who worked here during its final incarnation as a top-secret research establishment to 1991. The northern part of the site awaits restoration and can normally only be viewed from a popular landtrain tour.


Opening
Opening

Visit by private tour only.

Find Us
Find us

From J26 of M25, take A121 to Waltham Abbey; or from J25 of M25 go to Waltham Cross and then A121. 

Nearest station is Waltham Cross, connecting London Liverpool Street or Tottenham Hale underground (Victoria Line) to/from Cheshunt/Broxbourne/Hertford East. The site is a 25-minute walk east from the station, or there are buses and taxis.

Forthcoming Tours

22 Aug 2020
1PM - 3PM | £18.00

19 Sep 2020
1PM - 3PM | £18.00

17 Oct 2020
1PM - 3PM | £18.00

21 Nov 2020
12PM - 2PM | £18.00

Tour Overview

Tours of the out-of-bounds parts of the site will be led by a knowledgeable guide, entering particular interiors if appropriate. The tour will introduce participants to hidden architectural gems as well as the stories of the site and the purpose for which each structure was designed.

Tour Duration

2 hours

Tour Prices

£18.00 per person

Refreshments

Coffee, tea and cakes.

Access notes

Please note that while there is disabled access throughout the parts of the site for general visitors, including the landtrain tour, the ‘off route’ nature of this tour would be too hazardous.

Restrictions

Footwear must be suitably sturdy for walking on uneven terrain. The route covers approx two miles and there are no facilities or seating available during the walking part of the tour.


Opening
Opening

Visit by private tour only.

Find Us
Find us

From J26 of M25, take A121 to Waltham Abbey; or from J25 of M25 go to Waltham Cross and then A121. 

Nearest station is Waltham Cross, connecting London Liverpool Street or Tottenham Hale underground (Victoria Line) to/from Cheshunt/Broxbourne/Hertford East. The site is a 25-minute walk east from the station, or there are buses and taxis.

Other opening


Royal Gunpowder Mills's history and features

The Royal Gunpowder Mills has a long and fascinating history. It played an essential part in military history and national defense, as well as the development of civil industries such as mining and quarrying. It is a story with humble beginnings, of a family run business, which prospered and grew to become Crown property and a major local employer of workers in the Lea Valley and beyond, where people risked their lives to earn a crust. It became an ever expanding factory, constantly adapting to new technology, pulling in more and more workers to meet the demands of warfare across the empire, so growing and altering the shape of Waltham Abbey. 

Discover how the factory rose to the enormous challenges of WW1, with the sudden arrival of women to work at the factory, all unskilled and reaching at least 3,000 by the end of the war, and why a one-legged stool was a crucial health and safety implement. Explore its final phase from WW2 as a top-secret research centre for Cold War inventions and rocketry.

Read more about the history of the Royal Gunpowder Mills